Targa Miata
September 12, 2011 - Yes, we're shooting video.
This should give some pretty good visuals! You may have to wait for that, sleep is more important than uploading video.
After a short break, we took on Marysvale. This is a rough stage in the second half with lots of crests - typical of the roads in this area, it seems. There's a notorious jump/compression combo that claimed a Porsche fairly dramatically years ago, so I treat it with respect. Before we got there, though, we hit a dip hard enough to bottom out the chassis on the pavement hard. The actual "Porsche killer" (that's what we called it in the pace notes) seems to have been replaced with 30 meters of gravel, which was exciting in itself. We zeroed it.
After a short stop, it was on to Southern Harbour In. This was fairly quick and cresty (that's what it was called in the route books!) and it kept me working fairly hard. On some medium left-right-left sweepers, I was able to work the car's balance quite nicely - it's a good, friendly tool, which is exactly what we need. The car feels great. A bit more familiarity with the stages would make it easier to carry a bit more speed through the stage, but it was good enough to let us zero. And that's all that matters.
Then we stopped for lunch with some absolutely fantastic cod. Mmm.
entry 955 - tags: 2011 race, day 1, Southern Harbour, Marysvale
September 12, 2011 - Southern Harbour Out was the same stage as Southern Harbour In, but we were heading out instead of in.
Easy enough to understand. A Subaru was smoking dramatically when he went to launch a couple of cars ahead of us, looking like a blown head gasket. When it was our turn, we found him sitting by the side of the road about 200m into the stage. Safe and sound, just broken. Our target time for the way out was faster, so we pressed on over the crests and came across another stricken car near the end. This time, it was actually parked in the water! The driver was waving the OK sign so we kept going, but it was a pretty dramatic finish.
A correction - we took one second of penalties on Southern Harbour In. We zeroed it (with a faster time) on the way out.
To follow up on the water car - apparently, on the way out of the stage, my big Dodge and Jim got pressed into service to yank it out! The car took some damage on the way into the drink, so it won't be back for the rest of the race.
entry 956 - tags: 2011 race, Southern Harbour
September 13, 2011 - Brandon, hard at work.
This shot is from Gordon the official event photographer, and he's pretty good at posting daily updates. You can see them here: http://www.gordonsleigh.com/v/Motorsports/Targa/Daily2011/.
There's one new rule this year: anyone spotted cutting corners and throwing gravel on to the road gets a 30 second penalty. On the second stage yesterday, it was pretty hard to tell where the road started on some corners thanks to the gravel present when we went through, but I believe that was a pre-existing condition!
I forgot to mention some extra drama for our team yesterday. As we pulled up to the start line for Southern Harbour In, my intercom cut out. 20 seconds of frantic messing about followed to fix the intermittent connection and I managed to get it sorted, but it got Janel all tense. Looking at the video, I was distracted as well. We took some steps to secure the wires to prevent it from happening again, but it sure wasn't a good way to start a stage.
entry 962 - tags: 2011 race, day 1, Southern Harbour In, Brandon, gravel